A farmhouse in the country surrounded by lemon, orange, pomegranate and almond trees and the ubiquitous palms that dot the outskirts of the city of Elche (Alicante, Valencian Community). This haven of peace and tranquility is where Susi Díaz has been cultivating her culinary passion for over a quarter of a century, since she and her husband, José María, opened their restaurant.
Susi Díaz adheres to two interesting groups within the framework of contemporary Spanish cuisine. On the one hand, she is one of the few women to have gained prestige within the panorama of avant-garde cuisine in Spain, a sphere primarily inhabited by men. And on the other, she belongs to a movement of women chefs concentrated in the Mediterranean arc area that have gotten their restaurants into the most prestigious culinary guides. Curiosity or coincidence, Susi can be grouped together with a list of women that includes María José San Román, Pepa Román, Mey Hoffmann, Carme Ruscalleda, Fina Puigdevall, Isabel Juncá. Mari Carmen Vélez and Montse Estruch. Together they form a starry sky of female culinary wisdom that covers the coastal regions of Mare Nostrum in Catalonia and the Valencian Community.
Obsession for the senses
Susi Díaz’s professional aspirations have not only been fulfilled at the helm of La Finca’s kitchens, through her carefully constructed menu, but also by a book published in 2011. In it, she recounts her impetus for wanting to infuse each dish at her restaurant with the maximum amount of sensitivity, a factor constant throughout her long career: “Dishes must enrich the sense of smell, taste, sight and even sound. The perfect combination of all of these elements is what makes a recipe turn into an unforgettable meal”.
These recipes are overflowing with ingredients that come from her surroundings: jewels from the gardens in the province of Alicante, extremely high-quality fish from the Santa Pola pier, wild mushrooms in season, humble cuts of meat (such as pig’s trotters) elevated to their maximum expression of flavor, citrus and sub-tropical fruits cultivated in the area and, in center-stage, simple and modest legumes, with which she creates dishes bursting with creativity, delicacy and plays on flavors.